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Keys To Unlocking Auckland’s Transport Solution

Condensed Time Frame And Focused Leadership – Keys To Unlocking Auckland’s Transport Solution

Having Australian research confirm that Auckland’s roading infrastructure is “sub-optimal” and traffic congestion worse than both Sydney and Melbourne – embarrassing but reinforces “call to action” campaign, says Auckland Chamber CEO Michael Barnett.

Any illusion that Auckland is getting on top of its roading infrastructure problems is blown away in an Australian research report released today.

Michael Barnett was commenting on the Melbourne-based Allen Consulting Group report recommending a greatly accelerated effort to complete Auckland strategic roading infrastructure. “The report reinforces the call to action of Auckland’s mayors and business leaders for focused, strong leadership to get a work programme with a much shorter timeline to implement the region’s network plan,” he said.

“Despite the region’s efforts to encourage Government to increase road funding, such as the $1.6 billion package announced last year, it is disturbing to be told that New Zealand’s level of annual spending on road infrastructure is still below the OECD average of 1.3% of GDP,” said Mr Barnett.

“It is even worse that an Australian consultancy has to be called in to tell Aucklanders that our congestion is worse than in Sydney and Melbourne, that we have a ‘sub-optimal’ network and that as a result we are missing out on converting significant economic and environmental opportunities.”

The report clearly shows that Auckland has failed to make the same progress as Melbourne and Sydney over the past decade to build a modern arterial roading network – and that we are paying the price in terms of worse congestion and inability to unlock economic growth opportunities that would flow from a fully connected, viable transport network.

For example, the $2.1 billion invested to build Melbourne’s Citylink tollway is estimated to provide direct benefits to commuters worth around $4.2 billion.

The report demonstrates that if the four proposed roading infrastructure packages modelled for New Zealand were completed by 2012, including the western bypass,

2.

the net benefit to the economy would be in excess of $1.5 billion annually – each person in New Zealand would, on average, be better off by $243.

“We have a plan, but the timelines to implement it are not locked down. We need to adopt the Australian approach of building transport infrastructure under tight time lines and focused and transparent leadership.”

Mr Barnett noted that the economic benefits of $838 million annually by 2012 cited for the western by-pass matched recent Berl research claiming a net benefit to the economy of close on $2 billion annually by 2030 if the eastern corridor was completed.

“Clearly we must reinvigorate our campaign for faster network completion, and the business community will be doing just that in coming weeks and months,” said Mr Barnett.

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